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Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Should race be an election issue?
With a general election looming in Britain, the issue of race is back on the political agenda.
The Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, has accused the opposition Conservative Party of pandering to racist attitudes.
But the Conservatives in turn accused Labour of playing the race card by shamelessly misrepresenting Tory views on issues like asylum and immigration.
Hundreds of MPs, from all the main parties, have signed a controversial pledge designed to ensure a racism-free election campaign.
But does that mean that race is off-limits as an election issue? Should race be discussed during the election campaign? If so, how? If not, why not? Is the issue in danger of being buried in political mudslinging?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Tez Houghton, UK
As a person of mixed race, I feel that race should be an election issue as it is the only way to have the parties views exposed. The Conservatives are putting themselves forward as a racist party which will result in the black vote and the non-racist vote moving to Labour. I view this as a good thing.
Race was also an election issue in Apartheid South Africa resulting in change for the majority of exploited African people.
As a person of mixed race, I feel that race should be a election issue as it is the only way to have the parties' views exposed. The Conservatives are putting themselves forward as a racist party which will result in the black vote and the non-racist vote moving to Labour. I view this as a good thing.
Race should be an election issue, but can someone tell me?
How can the TUC have a Black Workers Congress, a media group have an Ethnic Multicultural Media awards show? What would be the reaction if we had a White Workers Congress?
Graham Smith, England
One way of discrediting our democratic heritage is to suppress legitimate debate about any subject. Asking representatives to avoid talking about a subject ,even as sensitive as race, is to accept that censorship of debate is allowed. This plays right into the hands of people who will seek other means of expressing their opinions if the democratic process does not allow it. I for one would not be happy if that were the case.
It was interesting that Robin Cook decided to talk about race just before the census. He used his speech to argue against the view that there was a 'British' race. White people completing the census form in England are invited to define themselves as British, Irish or Other. White people in Scotland are invited to define themselves as Scottish, Other British, Irish or Other. Robin Cook did not come out and deny the existence of a Scottish identity. The term British is on the form, but we have been told there is no such thing. Cook's message has a deliberate double meaning. He could deny the English both English and British identity, and at the same time reinforce his nationalist credentials by airing the case (well supported in Scotland) that Scots people are Scottish, not British. It is a subtle and deceptive use of the race card for the election, and creates an amusing dilemma for the Census
Racism is an emotive subject in the UK and let's not kid ourselves the public is being both duped and lured away from the vital issues confronting the Government's record by people who are in power (or want to be in power) and want to remain in power. These people know race is an emotive issue and they basically want to stir up debate and why? So key issues get brushed under the carpet. Is the health service improving? Are there the sort of meaningful jobs about for people who have qualifications or do they simply end up on a meaningless production line? Is the taxpayer getting real value for money? On top of the wasted millions on advertising we now hear of the wasted millions spent on a Home Office software programme!
It's not race we should be talking about it is competence for the post!
Turning race into an election issue will just create hostility. In a truly multicultural country, people do not worry about people's colour at all. It is completely dismissed as irrelevant, and this is what should be done.
By bringing up this debate over whether race should be an election issue they have made it into an election issue. Racism is an important issue which should be discussed but I think it is wrong to bring it up in an election as a tool to make one party look worse than another.
Why do the members of the right-wing press persist in stirring up trouble by constantly referring to illegal immigrants whom, even if not at risk of persecution in their home countries, are only looking for a better life for themselves and their families? If I had the choice of earning a pittance in my own country, or emigrating to America, or France or even racially intolerant Britain, I would seize the chance. I am not advocating unrestricted entry for asylum seekers, but I do think that we should be more sympathetic to those who wish to come here. That means treating them with respect - not being 'a soft touch'.
Alastair T, UK
The Commission for Racial Equality. The majority of its members are from ethnic minorities. Only 7% of the population are from ethnic minorities. Should they not be investigating themselves?
I was born in England and have recently returned to live there with my husband and family after spending 30 years in South Africa. I find a lot of English to be more racist than I experienced in South Africa. I felt proud when Nelson Mandela was freed and the whole nation voted in a democratic election. However, race issues should be spoken about freely and all races should have their say.
The CRE pledge is harmless for decent people. Finally ethnic minorities have a device for measuring prospective parliamentary candidates. Those who have not signed the CRE pledge will be implicitly labelled racists.
For politicians like Mr Cook to speak the way he has shows that he denies the multi-racial origins of the indigenous population of these isles. The fact that many of us enjoy cuisine that is representative of other national or regional cooking styles has nothing whatever to do with racial intolerance or indifference.
I feel that it is another clear and easy point which has been blown out of proportion by all parties. What started off as a simple piece of paper to sign has turned into another big story which could have been avoided
Race is an issue which should be discussed. It's not an issue which will disappear into thin air as some may wish!
I have read a lot of comments in which people seem to be congratulating themselves for living in a country in which racism appears to be a distant and receding dream. I am black and of Caribbean origin. I was educated in England and briefly worked there, but now I live in Belgium and have done for four years. In all that time, I have yet to hear one racial slur against me in any language I understand, English, French or Flemish. Yet, whilst in England, I have lost count of the number of times I have been verbally abused while walking down a street of an evening.
On the CRE issue, I side with the Tories on this one. No one need sign something blindingly obvious, unless they have something to hide. Standing up against it in principle was a courageous move by Portillo, whatever his real intentions were, for it exposes him to a lot more scrutiny than those who obediently tow the party line. Britain has a long, long way to go before it rids itself of certain ingrained attitudes. If you want to understand what racism is about, try being black in Britain.
I believe there is a problem of racism in the UK. And I blame the tabloids' jingoistic headlines in large part. Every time we play the Germans at football, out come the tired old WWII references. And they're similarly unbalanced on the subject of asylum seekers. However, I think overly politically correct organisations such as the CRE do more to encourage racism than to discourage it.
I completely support a person's right to free speech. I also believe each person should speak responsibly - which is all the CRE are asking. Should I be able to say something that will endanger my neighbour's safety? NO. I work for a multinational company with a strong diversity policy. I would be sacked if I spoke in a way contrary to the guidelines laid down by the CRE. In my birth country (I am an Australian-born Briton) I would be arrested. Am I still able to speak freely on any subject I wish including RACE (which I often do with my British-born Chinese partner)? YES. Why should our politicians not be subject to the same responsibilities?
The problem is that the Left play the race card and then accuse anybody who stands up against it of racism. For example, how many blacks are genuinely offended by the nursery rhyme "baa baa black sheep"? I can't say any of my black friends are. In fact, most of them are more concerned with the stereotyped "white socialist do-gooder" trying to decide what might offend them. Why not ask people? If a prospective MP uses blatantly racist language, don't vote for them. The power of the collective vote is worth more than a rap on the knuckles from Head Office. As for the CRE, are they joking? Do they really want to encourage discrimination by forcing more ethnic groups into Westminster even if the democratic vote is for someone else? I can't think of any better way to ignite racial tension.
It looks like the British will yet again have to take another page from across the Atlantic and start thinking of their country as a land of immigrants.
I think people in this country are scared to talk about racism openly. Yes, race should be an issue, but not an excuse.
Robin Cook claimed there is no such thing as the British race or British ethnic origin. Why then does my census form ask me to tick a box to confirm my ethnic origin as British?
Rodger Edwards, England
Beware! Racism is an evil, ugly word - if it were to become an election issue, then refer to the late Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech. It would all end in tears!
As an Englishman, I don't want race to be an election issue but I do want the question of bogus asylum seekers or economic migrants on the agenda. Politicians should focus on how to put pressure on the out-dated conventions of the United Nations who are the real cause of this problem.
Well race news articles are on the TV and in the papers nearly every week so surely it is an issue!
What never ceases to amaze me on all these talks about immigration is that no one ever mentions the outflow of British people to other parts of the world. From the way people talk about it, it's as if this tiny island is a small boat just about to sink if any more people are let on it. I wouldn't be surprised if there are actually more people leaving than coming in. Over the ages some of the Brits abroad caused more havoc than any number of asylum seekers (such as myself) ever will here - and this nation would be poorer for it if they hadn't, so hang on a minute everybody.
Restricting freedom of speech is not the right approach to go about this. They should ask the parties to have more candidates from ethic minorities to be selected and for seats in which they have a chance of winning!
The whole debate about racism, promoted by this Government is a political smokescreen to cover up their abysmal record on illegal immigration and bogus asylum seekers. These issues have absolutely nothing to do with race or religion. Those that seek to stifle open and meaningful debate on these issues by branding anyone who does so a racist makes it even more pertinent that unelected bodies and narrow minded bigots should not win the day.
Debates per se, do not achieve its original intended purpose. Debates on race filter down into violence and discrimination at the grass root level. The Tories should aim at attracting the ethnic minority vote, instead of rabble rousing and creating fear in the majority. After all the ethnic minorities are here in keeping with UK's vision for economic development.
Quite apart from the obviously hypocritical stance taken by Labour - to try and claim that race should not be an election issue and then make it an issue - there are more fundamental issues at stake here. The politically inspired actions taken by the CRE and Labour smack more of 'thought police' than encouraging democratic debate. If an MP makes racist remarks then he or she will be judged by those remarks. The Labour/CRE move has put the focus more on their hostility to democratic freedoms.
Riad Mannan, UK
Race should not be an issue but immigration can. Residence in the UK for a non-UK resident should be as a result of one of two criteria: 1) As a refugee from real danger and/or 2) bringing skills beneficial to the nation as a whole. It does seem odd that Britain, which has one of the more relaxed immigration policies, is branded racist whereas other nations that have strict policies are not.
I am a white Anglo-Saxon and incredibly proud to be so. Confusingly for some, this does not mean I am prejudiced against other races. Those who believe Britain to be a racist society should try being a Kurd in Northern Iraq. If you don't feel that minorities are properly represented in parliament, then use your vote.
There's no such thing as race. All there is, is people.
John Wadsworth, England
I have no problem with anybody's race, colour or creed but this country already has too high a population and for that reason alone I am against uncontrolled immigration - white, black, yellow or any other. We need space to live harmoniously together and overcrowding will cause more problems that have no racial basis but will be turned into a race issue. Those people who are misguided enough to support uncontrolled immigration are very shortsighted.
I wouldn't sign such a document simply because I know I'm not racist and resent the implication that not signing the document seems to imply otherwise to some people. It's unfortunate that prejudice causes 'communities' who feel discriminated against to end up creating community-specific newspapers and groups, which ends up causing more segregation. Being white, it's only now and then that I notice how many newspapers and magazines are full of white, straight faces and perhaps, if they were more representative of the true diversity of the nation, then there wouldn't be a need for 'minority' papers and magazines. These minority papers (and groups/clubs) end up, by default, being a small part of the problem because they themselves are excluding people who aren't part of that minority. One day we'll get it right. I hope.
Of course the issue of the recent influx of immigrants should be an issue discussed in the election. The government, which is constantly pushing multi-culturalism, would prefer that this be not so. This New Labour group are a bunch of Yuppies, who don't see matters from the ordinary Briton's viewpoint.
Politicians should not be racist, and most British ones aren't, but race shouldn't be allowed to get in the way of debates over immigration. The Conservatives are not being racist when they stand up for Britain against the mass influx of immigrants.
Judith, Brit living in Singapore
Candidates in an election should be free to discuss any topic that is relevant to their constituency or their country. To prohibit discussion because of race only goes to inflame resentment. For goodness sake, what happened to free speech? I think it is perfectly correct that politicians should be concerned about the asylum seeker issue and I would ask why so-called asylum seekers trek across many "safe countries" without legal right of entry, before eventually claiming asylum here in Britain?
Genetic research has shown that 99.99% of the genetic code shared by each human on the planet is identical. Individuals from different 'races' can have greater genetic similarity than individuals from the same 'race'. The reality is that there is no such thing as race. The Tories should be able to have rational discussions on topics such as immigration and asylum without being accused of racism. Centre right parties such as the Conservatives tend to judge people on their individual merits, while socialist parties such as Labour tend to judge people based on their membership of certain racial and economic groups. One wonders who the true racists are.
'Divide and Rule' has succeeded in the past. The Conservatives are at it once more! Thank God for honest people who will see through their wicked schemes. Good job, CRE.
Daniel Polwarth, England
As someone who is of Norman descent, I disagree strongly with Daniel Polwarth's comments about "lesser cultures" and "weaker races". Let me say to him, it's obvious you Anglo's haven't changed in a thousand years.
The Tories believe there are more votes to be gained by 'playing the race card' than lost. They are so desperate to avoid a humiliation they are going to clutch at any straw they can - including appealing to the racists and xenophobes.
The British are already known as the most racist in the world. When they talk about the presence of other races in Britain, do they forget that they got rule in other countries by killing thousands and they ruled there for ages?
Keith Spencer, Kuwait
Yes, we should debate illegal immigration. But more importantly the politicians should also take the opportunity of the elections to emphasise the genuine contribution of legal immigrants in the UK. This way the GOOD are rewarded, the BAD punished...and therefore there is no UGLY!!
I did think there was such a thing as free speech in this country. Or is that just for the Political Elite?
It is better to know what a political candidate thinks about an issue than to have them subjected to some form of censorship, albeit voluntary. All a decent self-respecting candidate need say is that they regard fundamental human rights as important, and that they endorse the principals of equality etc (assuming they actually do so, of course).
Such sentiments will soon stick in the throats of the racially prejudiced. Rather than sign up to self-censorship it would be better to sign up to the values mentioned above.
Racism has been made a subject for pushing political clout but to what ends? No matter what is said or by whom, I am afraid it is definitely in the mindset of a chosen few that minority classes are always troublemakers. The problems are more deep-rooted than one realises because prejudice is something that one cannot run away from. Admitting to it needs maturity. Rising above it needs understanding.
The recent statement by Gurbux Singh, chairman of CRE, to the effect that "only nine MPs are drawn from minorities" should serve to all as an indication of his lack of understanding of British democracy. MPs are elected on the basis of individual preference, and not appointed according to their ethnic origins. Indeed, what could be more racist than the latter approach? Once again, the CRE is attempting to stifle any debate on race issues by introducing politically correct doctrine.
It's a poor excuse for people to claim that this is about legitimate debate. I'm sick of hearing the phrase "you mention immigration and are branded a racist". The truth is that the people who are continually harping on about immigration really are being racist. Nobody ever grumbled about American or Australian immigrants. We all know the truth here - and the truth is that racism is the driving force. It's like Hitler saying "You can't mention the Jewish problem without being branded anti-Semitic".
John Goss, England
Take it from a citizen of a country that has struggled with the race issue for decades... there are no winners when politicians choose to play the race card. We live in a world in which racial and ethnic diversity is a fact of life. If we are not able to come to terms with this, and learn to respect and appreciate differences, the future looks pretty bleak.
The CRE is just another quango that thinks it can intimidate people. It investigated Anne Robinson recently for her comments on the Welsh. Who do they think they are getting involved in elections? If anyone wants to make race an electoral issue, and it seems Labour do, then that is their choice. Let the voters decide themselves how to respond to that.
"Is race an issue?"
Mr Cook seems to think it is, so it must be!
It is now impossible to debate immigration or asylum without automatically being branded as racist. Indeed, it will soon be impossible to level any form of criticism, or discuss any unpopular topic without the thought police trying to ban it. Why is it that so many of these supposedly liberals are so intolerant of opinions that differ from their own? Let's have open debate and free speech as a truly democratic society. We may not agree with the other person's opinion, but two generations of servicemen have died defending the right to express it.
As someone who has been married to a member of the so-called ethnic minorities for more than 30 years, the burgeoning growth of the race industry and the exploitative use of the term 'racism' by politicians has done more to make us both feel uncomfortable than ever we did in the sixties when people were free simply to say what they thought. It was a much healthier society then.
Simon Stafford, UK
Having read the CRE statement I can see no reason why any well-minded person would not sign up. It does NOT prohibit open debate but does provide clear guidelines on what is acceptable and what is not. We all live in a secular society and sometimes we (as a society) have to reaffirm our commitment to acceptable standards. The CRE statement is just a mechanism to do this. More importantly it is an open declaration. The reasons given for not signing are frankly pathetic and show the true nature of some of our politicians.
It seems obvious to any reasonable person that the issue of immigration must not be confused with racism. I am both a Labour voter and passionate opponent of racist attitudes. So I am amazed at Mr Blair and the Labour party trying to play the race card in such a clumsy manner and then accusing the Tories of doing exactly the same.
The CRE may have a lot to answer for at times with its own political agenda, but at least they were trying to get some ground rules laid which, if studied closely, ask for no more than all the mainstream political parties should be able to manage anyway.
Have a proper immigration debate and stop this childish mudslinging.
Simon Baker, UK
It is about time people discussed the issue of race and racial policies openly. Only then will you be able to address the problem. Please do not fall into the trap of my country, Malaysia, where it is categorised as a sensitive issue and not open to any honest discussion. Such a stance for the last three decades has not made it any healthier and it is just below the surface, waiting to explode at anytime!
In some comments, claiming that ethnic minorities are under-represented in Parliament, is the assumption that an ethnic group can only be represented by an MP from the same background.
Well, let's see where that assumption leads. First we must ensure that each constituency has an MP of the correct ethnic group. How will we decide which racial category a particular constituency falls into? Even if we manage to do that, we'd have to bar candidates of the 'wrong' ethnic background from standing. Applying that principle across the board, ethnic minority candidates would be barred from standing in predominantly white areas. Suddenly we're perpetrating the worst kind of racism - and incidentally throwing democracy down the toilet.
The fact is, race has nothing to do with whether your MP properly represents you in Parliament. What DOES matter is his/her integrity and commitment.
Douglas Hendry, South Africa
The "Race" issue needs to be discussed openly and frankly. It is plain that the indigenous population was never given the chance to vote for a multi-cultural society. They had it foisted upon them and dissenters from the current orthodoxy are being given no opportunity to have their views aired. This is an abuse of freedom of speech and needs to be rectified. Whatever happened to British democracy?
Michael Thomas, UK
I am what is known as a true blue Conservative. That is until June the seventh. Michael Portillo's obstinacy in not signing an important, albeit glorified, race charter has led me, as a member of an ethnic minority, to change my vote to Labour. I may not like Tony Blair, but this is one thing I cannot bear.
It goes without saying that it's disgusting for politicians to pander to populist prejudices for election point-scoring. But frankly I'd rather race does remain an 'issue' if it's a matter of exposing racist policies. At least we can find out this way who not to vote for - politicians are supposed to represent people but how can they do that if they are irrationally prejudiced against members of their constituency?
No, race shouldn't be an election issue. But the CRE has to have something to do, doesn't it?
As a young black man with a passion for politics, I feel it's time to pick up the political football that is racism and suspend the silly season. The eagerness of politicians to sign up to the CRE declaration and ensure that the poisoned chalice of racism isn't brought to the general election table would send out a clear message that all in UK politics are committed to the fight against racism, highlighting that tragedies such as Stephen Lawrence, Damilola Taylor and Wilson Silcott are not forgotten but remembered forever, rather than used by political parties to their own ends. If any aspect of race should play a part in the general election, it should be on the issue of increasing the representation of ethnic minorities in Parliament so that we are represented at least in proportion to, if not in excess of, our number in society.
David K, England
This is "PC" gone mad; we are turning into the States. Surely we should be learning from the US's mistakes and not be forcing people as to what they can and can't say by signing agreements. This is the country of free speech, so let politicians say what they want to say - we never believe them anyway!
It is not racist to discuss the immigration issue. Continued uncontrolled immigration has an effect on all people of all nationalities and creeds. It is an issue which should be discussed openly and not swept under the carpet hoping it will go away. Face up to it with realism.
By raising the issue of racism in such a controversial manner, the government - which should be playing it down as a factor to matter in anything - is highlighting it all the more.
I agree with Michael Portillo. People should be judged on their actions and not whether they sign bits of paper which contain meaningless platitudes.
The rest of Europe has always looked up
to Britain as the true champion of human
rights, democratic values and
civilisation. Is Britain now falling down
the abyss of primitive, pre-enlightenment
political campaigning? Hopefully, this is not
the case. At least I am convinced that
the honourable British Commission for Racial Equality (CRE),
will do everything possible to stem this obnoxious tide.
The current climate regarding race issues is reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials in that denying one is racist is taken as evidence that one IS racist. The non-signatories are right in their actions.
Read the pledge and I would not sign
it. No point signing something that the
police and courts of this country are
supposed to deal with. Have those who
have signed it decided that our laws
are not sufficient to deal with race
issues, and so pledges are now
needed? Is this the CRE's view too?
We sure must be in trouble! Help!!
Let's all sign the pledge.
Why should the subject of RACE be off the election agenda? It concerns very many people in Britain, just like the NHS, Police and Education. I don't see a ban on electioneering on those isssues.
Signing a pledge not to discuss race smacks of censorship, what if the electorate WANTS a debate on race issues?
I chose the UK as my home because of its relative value system. There is racism - but less so than in other countries. There is injustice - but the natural inclination towards fairness gives me hope. But above all, there is a healthy appreciation of the fragility of democracy. Censorship does not conform to those value system.
A great man once said three hundred years ago " I may disagree with what you say Sir, but I will fight to my death for your right to say it". I wholeheatedly agree.
Asif Ahmed, UK
Fairly shameless electioneering by Robin Cook, I'm afraid. I know politicians are not always recognised for honesty in their public pronouncements these days, but I suspect Mr Portillo and Mr Gummer are actually being more honest than Robin Cook in this instance. And if you think I am a Tory voter, think again.
I believe this issue has been blown up entirely to keep discussions away from 'real' topics such as tax, poor public services, mishandling of large projects like the Dome - which is still sucking in large pots of money without an end in sight.
Politicians should be allowed to get back to real issues and journalists should not be so eager to accuse them of racism.
If this country had a calm, sensible approach to looking at real issues surrounding politics, race should be discussed. However, party politics seems far too centred around image, marketing and spin to allow a sensitive and serious issue like 'race' to be given the respect it deserves.
Stuart S, U.K
In a free country, nothing should be off-limits for discussion. If we are not free to discuss and argue race issues, people who feel strongly one way or the other will feel they have to find other ways to express their opinions.
There are two ways to deal with a bigot:
Shouldn't the MPs who have signed the pledge have actually asked their constituents first? This whole 'pledge' issue is, and I hate to agree with John Gummer, undemocratic and unconstitutional.
It is wrong for an unelected body to effectively blackmail political parties by asking them to sign the agreement which is causing so much trouble. It is political correctness gone mad. I support those who do not sign - democracy might suffer if this goes to its logical conclusion i.e other organisations might start to ask the same sort of thing - no sexism, ageism etc
Robin Cook is right to attack the Tories on race issues. The Conservatives are a party that desperately clings to an idea of Englishness that holds race as its central tenet. Threats are everywhere in the Tory mindset and 'foreigners' are forever to be feared. The things Tories exist to conserve are a nationalist culture and a history that declares Britain was and is always best. Tories will cry 'political correctness!' of course but race is an issue and must be dealt with openly and honestly. Congratulations to Mr Cook for having the courage to do it.
I think that the race issue should be brought up in this election. William Hague has struck a Labour nerve, and should use all his power to exploit it.
Whether race should, or should not, be an election issue is a bit of a moot point ... just by asking the question, it obviously already is!
We live in a country that allows people the right to free speech. To avoid the subject is to deny the majority the ability to debate something that is on most people's minds. It's racist to ask people not to talk about it.
Race relations should be high on the priority list of any party running for government. However it should not be used as a campaigning tool as it is a very sensitive issue. One thing is for sure and that is that Britain is now a multicultural society and that is something to be very proud of.
I'm delighted to hear a senior politician make a positive public statement praising the richness of our cultural diversity, and acknowledging the historical truth about our national heritage. I hope this speech dispels once and for all the racist propaganda condoned by the 3 MPs who refused to sign the race pledge.
One feels that Robin Cook is making out the Conservatives' view on immigration to be racist. Surely this cannot be helpful. His words are no more than a devious election ploy, and whilst racism is a serious issue, it should not be used in the theatre of party politics.
In principle, race shouldn't be an election issue, but in practice I don't see how this can be enforced. How does one definitively distinguish the valid points from the racially-motivated statements or issues such as immigration or speaking good English in a job? And how can one tell whether an attack on another party is a genuine concern of their attitudes or just an excuse to accuse them of racism?
No, Mr Cook, has stirred up tensions, and quite frankly overplayed accusations of racism, which means, the true racists will be allowed to get away with terrible deeds, while everyone is concentrating on minor allegations, that are not true. We are lucky in this country that the three main political parties are not racist. There is cause for concern though. Ethnic minorities, are under-represented by all parties, 9 seats out of over 600, with the ethnic population at 6%. We should have at least 30, to be correctly representing our ethnic community - this is something that needs to see rapid change.
Race has been made an issue by Labour declaring the Tories racist. How can they then say that the Tories are trying to play the race card, or claim that they don't think race should be an issue?
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